story & photos by Jim Loomis
Ramiro Zavala is playing baseball now on a diamond near you! In a Matt Harvey like performance August 3, he was close to perfect as he pitched the Mystic Summer Little League team to the league championships, besting perennial powerhouse, Waterford. Displaying pinpoint control, he pitched five 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing no walks, while striking out twelve. He was reluctantly pulled from the mound with one out remaining in the final inning as he reached his mandatory pitch count under Little League rules, a welcome set of standards designed to protect kids from future arm problems, such as those which have befallen Matt Harvey and others.
Before reaching the championship game, the Mystic nine had to get by a tenacious Colchester team last Thursday in a tense match that ended under the lights. Behind 7-4 in the fifth inning, Bob Henderson, Mystic Coach, who calls Ramiro, “a good kid and a great competitor,” brought him in to slow the Colchester offense. Slow it he did, stopping them in their tracks with no runs, no hits, and no walks over the final two frames. Mystic went on to rally for five runs in their final at bat to overtake Colchester, giving Zavala the win. An impromptu post game victory celebration was soon to follow at Colchester’s landmark eatery, Harry’s Place.
Over the two games, Zavala was dominating, pitching seven 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, while earning both decisions. If this writer seems a tad biased, it might just possibly be because Ramiro Zavala is my grandson. When Ramiro was eight years old, a bullpen was constructed in my backyard, replete with a pitching rubber, a home plate, and a strike zone painted on an air mattress suspended behind home plate. Ramiro spent hours working on his pitching and I’ve proudly watched his control improve in leaps and bounds. While I might take a tiny bit of credit, along with some dedicated coaches, for sharing in Ramiro’s development, particularly in the mechanical aspects of pitching, his parents deserve all the credit for his mental approach. They have raised a mature, confident, and poised young man.
Next stop for Ramiro is the Mystic Clippers AAU team, and with two more seasons of Little League ball to follow, his future indeed looks bright.